Antigay prejudice is bad for heterosexuals' health, decreasing life expectancy by about two and a half years, according to a new study[i] published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The analysis was based upon 20,226 detailed interviews from the General Social Survey, conducted between 1998 and 2008, and cross-linked with the National Death Index.
The findings on decreased life expectancy parallel those made earlier with regard to white prejudice toward blacks. Researchers who later looked for biological underpinnings to explain why prejudice might shorten life expectancy found that persons with high levels of racial prejudice showed increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol when they interacted with a person of the other race.
Cortisol is a key "fight or flight" hormone and can be protective in dangerous situations. But chronic activation contributes to cardiovascular disease, which was the leading cause of premature death among persons with the highest levels of prejudice.
"Prior research has indicated that antigay prejudice harms the mental and physical health of sexual minorities. This study extends these findings to show that antigay prejudice also negatively influences the health of heterosexuals," wrote lead author Mark Hartzenbuehler and colleagues at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
Lactobacillus identified in neovagina of male-to-female transsexual women
Another study[ii] has upended the general belief that a neovagina created from penile tissue during gender transition surgery cannot support lactobacillus. It found the organism in 47 of 63 ( 75% ) of the transsexual women who participated in the study.
Lactobacillus is a broad family of bacteria that can support healthy gut and vaginal ecology. An imbalance can lead to vagina yeast infections and leave women more vulnerable to HIV infections. Some variants of the bacteria also are used in the production of food products ranging from yogurt, to beer, to sourdough bread.
Previous research in a transsexual population had looked for lactobacillus using culture techniques and had found only very low rates of occurance, about 4 percent. But this study, in Vienna, Austria, used the more sensitive PCR technique that amplifies the DNA of the bacteria.
It only looked for the presence of various strains of lactobacillus; it did not attempt to measure the number of organisms or their impact on tissue health.
[i] Anti-gay prejudice and all-cause mortality among heterosexuals in the United States. Hatzenbuehler ML, Bellatorre A, Muennig P. Am J Public Health. 2014 Feb;104( 2 ):332-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301678. Epub 2013 Dec 12
[ii] Molecular detection of Lactobacillus species in the neovagina of male-to-female transsexual women. Petricevic L, Kaufmann U, Domig KJ, Kraler M, Marschalek J, Kneifel W, Kiss H. Sci Rep. 2014 Jan 17;4:3746. doi: 10.1038/srep03746.